I submitted a paper to a a good mathematics journal about 3 months ago, and have not heard anything yet (based on some of what I've heard this is fairly normal). During that time I made some significant edits to the introduction and some of the proofs (the original proofs were not incorrect but now they are easier to read/understand).

Should I send the updated version to the editor? If the paper is already being reviewed, then I wouldn't want to muddy the waters by submitting something new. That's my only concern at the moment. Thoughts?

  • 3
    I feel like we've had this question before, but I can't find it at this point. The general consensus was do not send through an update. If you get a revise and resubmit, then incorporate the changes then. Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


I would not do it. If the referee is happy with the submitted version, you should add the changes when you send a revised version, explaining what you did with the utmost detail.

Keep in mind: if the changes are significant, and only to make the proof nicer/easier to read, it might not be worth doing it. Perhaps just add a remark explaining how to do it in a nicer way, or something like that. If you change the manuscript too much, you risk the referee to be very annoyed that he spent a lot of his/her (free) time reading and understanding the paper, and now he has to do it all over again. This is, of course, if the editor is also not very annoyed.

Minor changes are expected and very common, but major unrequested changes might not the best idea.

  • I would value the readers over the referee, and would certainly advise against not implementing improvement in the final paper. Making a paper nice to read is part of the job, and an important part at that. Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 12:49
  • I agree though that it might be unwelcome to resubmit a new version: the changes could occur after receiving the referee suggestion. They need to be good changes, and to be duly documented, so next time try to polish your work before sending it, but don't let a suboptimal paper in the open. Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 12:50

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